Hows dad?

I have been writing this blog for almost 3 years now and have been through some big changes as a parent and husband.

The triplets are well into the toddler stage, now potty trained and in big girls beds. It feels like the time has shot by. It seemed only yesterday they weren’t even crawling and dependant on us for everything.

I rarely get time to reflect with so much happening in front of me but felt with it being international father’s mental health awareness day, It would be good to take 5 and see where I am, and how I’m holding up as a first time dad.

Passing the torch

The first six months was a whirlwind of emotions and pressures that I had to adapt to. I have always seen it as my role to bring stability to my home and provide for my family. So I struggled mentally to deal with the changes at times. My wife held us together in the times I wavered.

I didn’t believe that becoming a parent would take almost every ounce of my attention and presence. There became no time for a social life and my wife and I both lost friends while in the vacuum of early parenthood. And with my wife’s family so far away we were petty much left alone to cope. The one blessing was my mother in law who moved in to take some of the pressure off.

But as time past we found our groove. Meditation kept me conscious until the unexpected happened and I developed a health condition when the girls were a year old. I then had to adapt to time off work, financial problems and chronic nerve pain to which there is currently no cure.

I have struggled with the last two years, with depression and fear around the future. I haven’t been the father and husband I wanted to be at times. But being a dad I have felt alone to deal with it all, because a man cannot let his family down. I feel the weight of responsibility daily.

Through the ups and downs I have reached out for help. But with months to wait for appointments I am still alone to deal with life and fatherhood. I am learning from my mistakes and hope I am outwardly bringing the love and support needed to my home.

I do my best. I have tried to keep emotionally afloat and with meditation I am making progress in overcoming some of the obstacles that arise from raising a young family. And in dealing with past issues that can cause problems in the present from time to time.

My hope is that one day there will be services available for new dads during the pregnancy and early days of fatherhood. Not all of us have the tools to deal with the pressures at such a crucial time of a babies development.

Men count, and a fathers love is vital to a newborn baby, and to his family who need him present and awake to deal with the rollercoaster ride that is parenthood.

My full journey is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle

International Fathers mental health day

Unfortunately there is still a huge lack of support and needed services for fathers throughout the pregnancy, and going into fatherhood.

If you follow my blog you will be aware I’m a first time biological father to spontaneous triplet girls. You’ll also know I have overcome my own serious mental health conflicts before I discovered I was to be a father. Had I been in a less stable mental condition I don’t believe for a minute I would have been able to cope with the huge emotional changes I experienced to get to this point.

The day I found out I was to be a Father of multiples, I also discovered I was completely alone to deal with my situation. After the scan took place, on asking a midwife if there was any sort of help, or somewhere I could find advice I was met with a simple apology. No such help or service exists for men.

My wife was in a state of shock and panic, overwhelmed with the news of the triplets. I was left without any landing equipment, heading into the biggest, most difficult event of my life without a clue as to what was coming. The entire focus of the pregnancy was understandably directed on the wellbeing of my wife and the triplets. Any questions that came my way were questions directed at how my wife was coping. I had no choice but to push on the best I could in the hope my intuition in dealing with my wife and family was right to trust.

The stress of the pregnancy was a test of our marriage, it was down to me to keep stability in the home even though I had my own constantly rising fears and concerns.

I met with my GP within the first month of the pregnancy. I was experiencing fear around old mental health concerns and felt it wise to discuss my concerns with a neutral party rather than burden my wife or friends. Even with a long past of diagnosis, I was given a form to send off and explained the waiting list would be at least 6 months to speak with someone by which time the babies would have arrived. It would be over a year before a meeting with a professional councillor took place.

My saving grace was that as a recovered alcoholic, In order to stay well and mentally stable I practice a daily meditation exercise that allows me to build resilience to stress. It was a way for me to remain conscious and aware of my rising fears without becoming overwhelmed. The situation at home was difficult as my wife suffered mentally and physically with the pregnancy. I had to stay out of anger and fear for the sake of the unborn babies and my family.

Thankfully the triplets arrived safe and well. And with the safe arrival of the babies my wife’s depression and fears left. I, on the other hand was beginning to get hit with mental exhaustion from the pressure of the previous months. Life was only to become more challenging when the babies came home. Again there was no support for myself other than the social media multiple Dad groups that became a God send to me.

There is a massive failing in relationships and marriages within the first year of multiples. Without a way to remain conscious of rising negative emotions, men feel evermore pushed to the sidelines feeling ignored and left out. Depression becomes a common symptom of the suppressed resentment energy that men are unable to shake. Yet they are left to struggle unless offered a real solution. When self-pity starts creeping in with added tiredness all hell can break loose in a home.

I feel I’m one of the lucky ones who survived the first year. I suffered at times in silence, my wife didn’t need the extra burden of worrying about me. She was discovering her own place. As difficult as it was at times I did my utmost to put her needs first.

It was during the first week in the NICU that a nurse came in and sat next to me while I was alone with the triplets, she asked me how I was doing, I immediately began telling her about my wife and she stopped me, she said again “no, how are YOU doing with all of this”?. I poured my heart out for a good hour. She understood my situation. It was the first and last time I have ever been asked solely as Dad how I was by someone professional dealing with us as a family. I think that’s pretty sad considering what we as Fathers go through.

A Fathers role is equally as important, and needs to be treated that way, it’s why I began this blog, to share with others who may be lost in the fear of a high risk pregnancy. I have discovered a solution to depression and a way to deal with the stresses of home life. Many haven’t.

We no longer live in a time where women deal with the babies and men stay out the way. I was fully involved from day one and continue to be as much as possible.

Maternity services need to start recognising the absolute importance of our roles and offer support to those who most need it. Many Fathers begin their journey into parenthood already suffering with un resolved mental conflicts which is why a fathers mental health needs to be taken seriously.

I am currently writing a book hoping to be published next year, sharing my experience and highlighting the emotional journey as a new Father to high order multiples I embarked on, and how finding my role early kept me involved no matter how disconnected I felt under the pressure of adjusting to a new life. It is possible to maintain stability in the home, and in oneself.

https://tripletdad.blog/2018/02/28/my-mental-wellbeing-my-babies/

Sober – 7 years recovered from alcoholism

3 minute read.

Seven years ago today I came off my last drunk after six years of failed sobriety. My journey into sobriety originally began in New Zealand, from leaving my then home in Australia after failing a marriage and a good life.

My decline into chronic alcoholism slowly twisted my mind into darkness. I became violent and unpredictable in blackouts which frightened me. Yet I could not stop drinking.

Contemplating ending my life, full of anger and frustration at my failings the thought of making it all stop had become appealing once again. I had to stop drinking but didn’t know how. I began seeking a spiritual solution as it seemed to be the only hope left after trying almost every avenue of help.

My fear of sobriety was overwhelming, my inability to stop was destroying me. That year a failed stay in a drying out clinic just reaffirmed what I already knew by that point. I was beyond human aid. I was in the grip of a compulsion that I had no mental control over. I hated myself for what I felt as a weakness in me. When I started I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t leave it alone.

The fear I experienced around sobriety was that my mental health would quickly decline without the crutch of alcohol. Sobriety brought mental tension, anxiety anger and conflict that I would always eventually turn back to alcohol for relief of. It had been the solution to my mental suffering since first discovering it. I have spent years in the mental health system and couldn’t face going through that wringer again.

The next six years was littered with failed attempts at sobriety, in and out of meetings looking for a spiritual solution that seemed to have been lost within a now largely made up fellowship of amateur therapist and people with other problems. I remained angry and fearful.

I was back in the mental health system, detoxes, a year out on a remote island in the hope that in solitude I would find peace. Nights in police cells, psychiatric evaluations and homelessness became normal once more.

Medications brought a little temporary relief but the pain always got to much to sit with and I would return to the bottle. Its what I did. I couldn’t get off the roundabout. My great hope was that I would one day get a handle on my drinking, that I would drink like normal people. That thought became a deadly obsession it itself.

My life revolved around obsessive thinking and compulsive drinking. Earning enough to drink while struggling to find balance with work and hold a job down in order to earn the money for alcohol to keep it in my system for some sort of perceived sanity.

The last 18 months of my drinking I convinced myself I had discovered that balance. But my mind was slowly sinking back into darkness and thoughts of suicide. I worked and drank, medicated on anti-psycotics, trying to maintain some stability.

That routine became my existence. I had a couple of friends but couldn’t be honest about the suffering that was eating at me. The memories of my past and my guilty conscious were getting harder to blot out with each bottle.

7 years ago, after coming around in the morning off a bender I sat in my stale smoke filled flat and poured a rum and coke. I sat and stared at it, I hated what I had become in my head. There was no peace, no relief anymore, I realised in that moment that where I was would be where it all ended. I was never going to get free from alcohol on my own will power.

I had run out of fight, justification and excuses. I couldn’t live another day in my head. I was beaten daily by reminders of the hurt I had caused others through my self centred existence. I had tried everything to be a decent human being but the fear and anger that my ego fed on didn’t allow me any emotional consistency, even with the best intentions I only ever hurt people.

It was a rock bottom like I had never experienced, the pain overwhelmed me. I prayed in tears for help, for strength I couldn’t muster. My own darkness had brought me a desperate need for light. An experience followed that left me shaken and uneasy. After a time got up from my knees and poured the drink away. I have never felt the need to drink again, the obsession had left me, I had been freed in that moment. I have never taken a drink since.

I began looking within a twelve step fellowship for a recovered alcoholic who would be able to live by the spiritual principles it’s original members discovered and put into print back in the late 1930’s. It wasn’t an easy search. But I eventually found a man who had some answers, who had recovered himself. He showed me a way to grow in the spiritual principles of love and tolerance by way of prayer and meditation.

My life has never been the same since. Two months after getting sober I met Stacey. She has never known me drunk or lose my temper. She has only known consistency from me.

Tomorrow I will wake up with the triplets and begin another day with my family in the life I didn’t believe was possible or that I would ever experience.

I don’t look back at my sobriety with a sense of achievement, I’m not one to pat myself on the back. A supernatural power of love did what I could not and removed the anger that fuelled my alcoholism. My only job has been to grow in the spirit of love that replaced it. All credit goes to God’s grace, without which I wouldn’t be here now. Recovered from alcoholism and living a life beyond anything I could have imagined.

If you believe that you may be experiencing the two symptoms that make up alcoholism, an obsession to drink coupled with a craving beyond your control whenever you take a drink – don’t hesitate drop me a message, As a recovered alcoholic I can offer you a permanent solution. Or at least point you in the right direction of help.

My journey in full is available on Amazon

Potty training triplets – send prayers!

There are three words that can strike fear into the hearts of the toughest of dads and most confident of mums – potty training triplets!!!!

As you may well understand we have been reluctant about this big milestone in their development. We have only just cracked their transition into toddler beds which is a move that tested us both in the beginning.

Just the idea of potty training has boggled my mind. I hear one can be enough of a challenge so where to begin with three hectic toddlers was beyond me.

Thankfully Stacey has experience with potty training and has also been reading up on ways that will help us help the trio crack this big transition. Which in my mind was just going to be stressful, and literally a shitty time for us.

Ready to scrap the nappies

So here’s how it’s going so far.

We are currently on day three, and right now I wish I could just stay in bed and hide under the duvet for the remainder of the day. Our living room stinks of wee and the rug, sofa and carpets need replacing. Thankfully though it is Improving by the day.

To be fair it hasn’t actually been that bad, the hardest part has been that we are stuck in the living room all day, constantly watching them like hawks and encouraging them, and keeping them interested in a new way of doing things and staying calm and positive for them.

Ava and Lacey have cracked it now but still need watching, Blakely is a little behind and needs a little more encouragement than her sister’s.

Yesterday we introduced marshmallows as an insensitive which helped. The only problem with this has been that they have clocked that even the smallest of wee’s equals a reward which means they are pretty much glued to their potty’s now, and we are having to empty them every 5 minutes while remaining exited about it. It’s a real test of patience.

Thankfully it will be be less stressful as the day’s go by. At least I hope this will be the case.

Il keep you posted. Over and out from our smelly front room.

One last gig

It has been fun, but all good things must come to an end.

Over the last couple of months I have been playing weekly gigs to give my friends and family a break from the monotony of lockdown. These gigs are also open to all.

This Thursday 4th june at 8.30pm uk time, I will be playing one last set. If you wish to be a part of this final gig simply follow this link, join my fb page and see you on Thursday evening.

Please share this post so others can also join in.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/510598143013778/?ref=share

Growth

The triplets are doing well. They are developing into wilful little toe rags but this is the norm for their age. They are irrational, destructive, loving and kind. Three mixed bags of emotions.

They have tested us lately with the cot beds transition. But when we stuck to a simple and calm way without stressing them and us out. We have had better results. The three all have learned that bed time is for sleeping. Naughty corners and raised voices only aggravated the move and created more problems.

This milestone has brought a little sadness in that the babies that demanded our full attention and care are no more.

Gone are the late nights of insanity and sleep deprivation. The routines that became normal and tested our marriage as we adjusted to them at home.

Gone are the days I can pick two up for a daddy cuddle, they are now much bigger fully mobile and are a little forces of energy. Even Blakely has now grown to be more steady on her feet as she arrived at this hectic stage of development. I miss my babies, as strange as that may sound.

As crazy as it was, the insanity of early fatherhood became normal and introduced me to the reality of the commitment it takes. And also how much of our time and focus it was going to take to try and stay emotionally afloat as a husband and wife, dealing with such a remarkable situation.

I didn’t think becoming a dad was going to bring so many emotions out of me. If you peeled back a layer on me you would see anxieties, stress, concerns about the future and whether I am doing it right. But under the surface the love I feel for them is the real foundation. It outshines even the tougher of days.

The one sure thing under this roof is that we are in a momentum of constant change. The most important thing is that we roll with the new phases of their development, and deal with each new event with patience and tolerance. Which we will need an abundance of because potty training is up next now they have cracked bedtime.

I hope you are are all well and safe in these strange days. See you again soon x

Spoke too soon

A couple of weeks ago I posted how smooth the transition was from cots to beds. All seemed well. I spoke way too soon!

It’s been a stressful challenge that has had us on the edge of sanity with our eyes twitching with onset madness some nights.

We tried several ways to keep them in their beds but all failed. We found ourselves every night watching the monitor and diving in and out of their room to get them back in bed. We got stressed out, they were not settling and it was eating into our quiet time.

Telling them off is pointless, because they just laugh at us. The naughty corner was becoming a game. We needed a new more peaceful tactic and Stacey discovered one that is passed on from Super Nanny. And it’s worked a treat – so far I might add, things can change fast with triplets.

This is the technique which has worked for our girls.

The first time they get up, one of us goes in and leads them all back to bed, speaking softly that it’s time for bed.

The second time we go in we speak with a bit more authority.

From then on we simply lead them back into bed, without speaking or making eye contact. When they realise they are not getting attention they stay in bed. It’s worked 3 nights in a row now.

We also read them stories separately beforehand. Frankie gets involved with this which is also good for her bonding with them.

The whole bedtime routine, done with out a raised voice or stress has worked a treat. We also have a reward chart. Every time they stay in bed they get a sticker. And if they get 7 stickers they get a little toy.

It seems we’ve cracked it. Thankfully.

Big girl beds – making the switch from cots

This is a massive milestone that deserves a post.

Last night the triplets spent their first night in their toddler beds. We have been holding out for the right time to make the transition and decided it was time to bite the bullet.

It was as expected for the first hour. They were out and playing about but we were quick to put an end to any shenanigans. The quicker they learn not to mess about at bedtime the better. Especially when it’s our time to relax.

And after an hour of silliness and visits to the naughty corner they snuggled down and slept straight through for 12 hours.

It’s hard to believe that they are no longer babies. I still call them the babies but in reality they are walking, almost talking toddlers, with fiery personalities.

Little Blakey has a roar

It’s not been easy to keep them isolated without them going stir crazy, and us for that matter. We have taking them for a walk in the mornings just to get some fresh air. They love a stroll, or ride around the estate.

Stacey has worked hard to find things to do to keep them occupied. But in all fairness they seem to be coping pretty well with being stuck in. Lacey often asks if we can go to Nonna’s house. Thankfully we have facetime so we can still stay in contact with family.

The triplets are really coming into their own now. Three very different toddlers who are developing into three very confident (and wilful) little girls. They are challenging at times but more so than not they are well behaved and play lovely together.

There was a time when they first came home that I wondered when it would end. Now I can’t believe it’s gone. We are now dealing with quite different personalities at a new stage of growth. I can’t believe how fast the times gone. If you are new to parenting dont wish the time away with your little one’s, enjoy it while it lasts.

Entertaining the troops

Firstly, I hope you are all well and safe.

If you are a parent you may be in agreement with me that one of the hardest things about self isolating is keeping the kids entertained.

As normal with toddlers ,we are doing our best to keep things structured and to maintain a daily routine. It gives the triplets some stability, and we also know where we are with them at any given time of the day.

Self isolating is difficult for all of us. The triplets are used to going out during the day. Whether it’s an exercise class with Stacey, or a mother toddler group. A trip out always keeps them a little more sane.

Stacey has worked hard to find things to do in the mornings when they would otherwise be at pre school. So we are both Learning the ropes of home schooling. Which takes a mass of patience, they are also having to settle into a routine. But we are doing okay so far.

Frankie is settling well into her own routine of school work and break times. There are printed copies of everyone’s routines stuck to the fridge so we all know where we are.

We have also added in to the day a break for meditation and exercise. Our mental wellbeing while we are stacked on top of each other in our little home is incredibly important.

We have included a set time once a week to get off our chests any grievance resentments we may have. To clean house in an emotional sense just so we don’t go mad.

I’m also playing another live gig from my living room this Friday 3rd April at 8.30pm GMT. Follow this link if you are tired of the TV and fancy some live music. If so, see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/510598143013778/

Free live music – from me to you

If you have followed my blog ot read my book you will know I dabble in guitar and vocals.

I sing for a rock covers band and also play acoustic sets when I’m in the mood. Because venues have now closed and pubs and clubs are cancelling bands, I thought I could do a little something to entertain anyone who wants to join me. Il be playing a live acoustic set from my living room for all of you self isolating that miss live music.

Friday I will be playing a gig live on Facebook. If you fancy a bit of live music while you’re self isolating then look no further.

To get involved (the Last gig we had over 100 in the crowd), simply follow the link to my Facebook page and join.

The gig will begin at 8.30 GMT. It will be an hour of popular rock covers and Motown classics. Performed by myself, with Stacey reading out the messages and requests in between tunes.

See you on Friday – lets keep music live

https://www.facebook.com/groups/510598143013778/